Classified Soviet Maps To Be Made Public
Oct. 15, 1988
MOSCOW (AP) _ Maps of the Soviet Union that long have been classified for fear they might help spies or saboteurs will be made public next year, a newspaper reported Saturday.
''The 'secret' stamp is being removed'' to permit printing of 457 new maps and atlases based on the classified charts, with 249 titles scheduled to be printed in 1989 alone, the Sovietskaya Rossiya daily said.
''Until very recently ... anyone who managed to see them could be condemned as an enemy of the people,'' it said.
The chief Soviet mapmaker, Viktor R. Yashchenko, told the government newspaper Izvestia last month that roads, rivers and even entire towns had been intentionally misplaced or left off public maps over the past half- century under orders of the secret police.
He said the distortions began in the 1930s under Soviet leader Josef Stalin and continued until this year.
''People did not recognize their own homeland on maps,'' he said at the time. ''Tourists tried in vain to orient themselves to locations.''
Sovietskaya Rossiya said the new, more detailed maps stemmed from ''glasnost,'' the drive for openness pushed by Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev.
Among the new titles planned are a road atlas, collections of maps of cities including Moscow and Leningrad, and hikers' atlases for the Caucasus mountains and the coasts of the Black Sea and Sea of Azov, the newspaper said.